A charity which runs a string of day centres in Bexhill is urging more local elderly people to make use of their facilities.
Bexhill Caring Community runs half a dozen centres locally as well as offering a host of other services at a not-for-profit basis.
The day centre service offers elderly people the chance to meet new friends, get out of the house and, in many cases, allow their carer a vital break.
They were launched in 1975 in an effort to provide somewhere for older people to visit, meet up with others, join in activities, enjoy entertainment and occasional trips out.
Each centre is run by a team of volunteers headed by an organiser and the charity can collect residents and return them to their homes if needed – with an average day involving morning refreshments, a two-course home cooked meal and afternoon tea, at just £13 per person.
The town is currently well-stocked in terms of day centres but the long-term concern is that if not enough people make use of them, they may no longer be financially viable because the charity relies on charges and donations for its funding.
And, according to Chris Chinn, who volunteers at one of the centres, any closures would be a crying shame because the benefits to visitors are obvious.
Chris told the Observer: “I took over as an organiser two years ago and have loved every minute of it.
“It is important for the elderly and lonely to meet up and make new friends.
“Often they have lost their partners and friends by outliving them, or have families who live abroad or can only visit them occasionally. We can keep the family informed of any problems we become aware of in a quick phone call, giving them piece of mind.
“Having someone to laugh with and something to look forward to each week can give people a real lift.”
It was a sentiment shared by fellow volunteer Diana Crofts, who said: “As a helper at a day centre I can appreciate the need for the facility.
“Often, a new member arrives and is shy and reserved due to having spent some time alone and to see them interact and begin to make friends is very rewarding.
“A day centre can literally give people something to live for.”
As well as the day centre service, Bexhill Caring Community also provides: a community car service for medical appointments and funerals anywhere in the south east; a dial-a-ride bus; help filling out benefit forms or Blue Badge applications; equipment hire and a list of approved and recommended tradesman in the town.
Anyone who would like more information can either call 01424 215116 or look online at: www.bexhillcaringcommunity.co.uk.
And any potential volunteers can also email firstname.lastname@example.org.